APL England after losing containers off the coast of Australia. Photo: AMSA

APL England Master to Face Trial in Australia Over Heavy Weather Cargo Loss

Mike Schuler
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January 25, 2022

The master of the containership APL England will stand trial in Australia over the loss of 50 containers from the vessel during heavy weather off the country’s New South Wales coast back in May 2020.

Captain Mohd Zulkhaili Bin Alias faces one charge of taking a vessel to sea while unseaworthy, but a Brisbane magistrate decided there was insufficient evidence for a second charge related to the illegal disposal of garbage.

The Singapore-flagged APL England was underway from China to Australia when it lost 50 containers overboard back on May 24, 2020, following a temporary loss of propulsion in heavy seas caused severe rolling about 73 kilometers southeast of Sydney. Debris from the cargo containers impacted NWS beaches.

Photo courtesy AMSA

Following the incident, the vessel was detained in the Port of Brisbane where an Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) inspection revealed that the cargo lashing arrangements were inadequate and securing points for containers on the deck of the ship were heavily corroded.

“This and other incidents remind us of the important role the ship’s Master has in ensuring the ships that ply our waters are operated safely and do not damage our marine environment,” AMSA General Manager Operations Allan Schwartz said in announcing the charges shortly following the accident.

“These findings constitute a clear breach of a requirement under SOLAS to ensure that a ship and its equipment are maintained so as not to present a risk to the safety of the ship itself or anyone on board the ship,” Schwartz added.

The Master, a Malaysian national, appeared for Monday’s hearing by video after being granted bail and allowed to return to home about a month after the incident. A date for his trial was not set.

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